How to Become a Special Olympics Athlete or Volunteer

Two Parts:Becoming an AthleteBecoming a Volunteer

Special Olympics is a world organization that provides training and holds competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The competitions are held around the world at all levels––local, regional and national; in sum, up to 70,000 in a year. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and you probably can do it in your own city!

Part 1
Becoming an Athlete

  1. 1
    Choose your sport. The Special Olympics provides year-round training to improve physical fitness and abilities. Aspiring athletes can choose from 32 sports disciplines (sports offered may vary with continent).
  2. 2
    Select the relevant competition. The Special Olympics competitions are open for athletes aged 8 years and above. For children in the 2 to 7 age group, th Special Olympics offers a Young Athletes program, a sport and play program which focuses on fun activities that are important for mental and physical growth.
  3. 3
    Register yourself as an athlete. To do this, get in touch with a Special Olympics Office near you. To know more about office locations and becoming an athlete, visit

Part 2
Becoming a Volunteer

  1. 1
    Find out what opportunities are on offer for volunteering. The Special Olympics has active programs in 170 countries and events take place throughout the year. There may even be an office in your city which needs your help. To check the list of offices worldwide, visit
  2. 2
    Choose which area you want to volunteer in, according to your skills and expertise. These areas include:
    • Fundraising
    • Providing health care for athletes
    • Officiating a match
    • Coaching an athlete/team
    • Assisting athletes in competitions
    • Helping to organise and conduct competitions.
  3. 3
    Volunteer on days and at times convenient to you. This is possible to avoid clashes with your work or other commitments.
  4. 4
    Register yourself as a volunteer, visit or visit a Special Olympics office near you. A list of locations is provided via the weblink in Step 1 of "Becoming a Volunteer".

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Categories: Sports and Fitness